Cubs 1, Phillies 0
Sosa homered on the first pitch of the ninth inning and four Chicago pitchers combined on a one-hitter as the Cubs snapped the Philadelphia Phillies’ seven-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory Wednesday night.
“That’s how the big sluggers do it,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “He had a rough three at-bats and then wins the game. It was huge.”
Matt Clement, Mark Guthrie, Kyle Farnsworth and Joe Borowski combined on the Cubs’ first one-hitter since May 25, 2001, when Kerry Wood beat Milwaukee. Clement allowed a leadoff infield single in the fifth inning to David Bell.
Chicago is 6-11 in its last 17 games with seven of the losses coming in the opposition’s last at-bat. The Cubs last four losses were by one run.
“This win was great for the ballclub,” Sosa said. “We’re always positive but these last couple of games have been tough.”
Baker added: “It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s great for us to win a game like that. We were trying to forget about those one-run losses and this goes a long way.”
Phillies starter Brandon Duckworth gave up three hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Sosa, who was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts going into the ninth, hit a hanging slider from Turk Wendell (1-2) for his 510th home run, 11th this season.
“(Duckworth) pitched me very tough and (Wendell) used the same pitch,” Sosa said.
The homer was the first surrendered by Wendell in 29 innings this season and snapped his 14-inning scoreless streak.
“It was a mediocre hit-me slider,” Wendell said. “You can’t let a guy like that beat you. You can’t let their best player, a slugger-type, beat you.”
Clement struck out five and walked a season-high six over seven innings.
“It’s the first time all year that I feel I’m getting to where I want to be,” said Clement, who is 7-2 lifetime against Philadelphia. “I used a lot of sliders and stayed away from my sinker because it just wasn’t working.”
Guthrie got two outs in the eighth inning, Farnsworth (3-0) threw one pitch—Bobby Abreu was caught stealing—to end the eighth. Borowski pitched the ninth for his 16th save.
Clement took a no-hitter into the fifth when Bell singled off first baseman Eric Karros’ glove and caromed into right field. The official scorer took several minutes and looked at the replay on the television before making the call for a single.
Both sides agreed with the scoring.
“It was a really tough play especially on the wet turf, it was a hit,” Clement said.
The Phillies managed to get the leadoff man on base in three of the first five innings but each failed to reach second.
“Clement has nasty stuff and nothing is straight,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said.
Clement’s lone trouble came in the seventh when he issued back-to-back walks to Pat Burrell and Marlon Byrd with one out. Clement struck out pinch-hitter Tomas Perez and got Placido Polanco to ground out to third.
The Cubs had their best chance for a run off Duckworth in the sixth inning. Clement led off with a double and one out later Alex Gonzalez drew a walk. Corey Patterson lined out sharply to center field for the second out before Sosa, who worked a full count, got caught looking on a nifty curveball.
Philadelphia’s loss saved Bowa from a new hairstyle. Before the season, Bowa promised to let his players either shave his head or dye his hair blond if the team won 10 in a row.
“We’ll just have to start another streak tomorrow,” Bowa said.
Cubs LF Moises Alou, mired in a 2-for-20 slump, didn’t play. … The Phillies are 46-35 after 81 games. … Duckworth, who went just one inning in his last start (June 27 against Baltimore) after being hit in the right arm with a line drive, threw 87 pitches. … Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins was hitless in three at-bats and is 1-for-18 against Clement in his career. … Clement threw 104 pitches. … Sosa has 481 with the Cubs. … Phillies 1B Jim Thomehad his 10-game hitting streak halted.